I’m going to try and keep this one short as it has been an extremely long and hard day, and my eyes feel really heavy as if they’re about to close. The day started at just before fajr, 5:15am to be precise giving me 5 minutes to gather my stuff together and then head down to the masjid for 5:30am. Most of the convoy spent the night in the vans up in the compound, but I thought I’ll be a bit clever and stay in a hotel in town. I managed to scrounge a place on the floor in one of the rooms rented by a few brothers who are also on the convoy.
We set of back towards Damascus at about 9ish which took us the whole day up until nearly midnight. On the way one of the vehicles from my group had problems with the exhaust so we gave it into a garage on the way to be repaired. This caused us to be delayed and we eventually fell to the back of the convoy, a long way behind the rest. As we resumed our journey towards Amman, on route to Damascus, the slumber started overcoming me so I decided to stop off at a small coffee hut and pick up a coffee. When pulling into grab a coffee my group passed me but I thought it wouldn’t be a problem, alhumdulilah the ‘yellow submarine’ is one of the more rapid vehicles and I would be able to catch up. Upon returning to the vehicle I noticed one of the vehicles from our group parked behind ours. It was the vehicle carrying sisters and an elderly non Muslim lady in it. As we looked down the road the group was not in site and the sisters said they needed to pray. So me and my co-driver decided that we would have to wait for them and accompany them back as leaving them wasn’t really an option. After the sisters prayed we set off and tryed to catch up with the rest of the group. Unfortunately we didn’t find them and trying to regroup with them going through the streets of Amman is very difficult.
By now we knew that we had to find our own way to the Syrian border, although we had no Tom Tom, maps or directions. We managed to get in touch with our group leader and get the name of the border crossing that we were heading for. As we made our way through Amman we came accross heavy traffic, when we heard sirens behind us. It wasn’t a memeber from the convoy, rather an ambulance that was on its way to an emergency. We took full advantage of this and followed the ambulance through the traffic allowing us to cut through tonnes of trafic. Alhumdulillah for the ambulance, one of the good things about the convoy is that we get away with a lot of traffic laws that in normal circumstances could never have been done.
Being only two vehicles we gained a lot of ground and reached an average speed of 100 kM/h approx 60 m/h as when travelling with the group we some times average 60 kM/h. Painfuly slow and irritating. To be honest I wasn’t upset breaking away from my group, I actually didn’t mind it at all, it adds to the adventure getting lost and navigating your way around a foreign country. We ended up arriving at the hotel that we we’re staying at a lot earlier than our group. Infact our group hasn’t even arrived yet and we’ve been here for nearly two hours. It seems to be like a deja vu, we’ve come to the same hotel as the one we came to about a week ago when we were in Damsacus. How annoying, it’s been a week and were back here.
Oh well, tomorrow we head for the port where we’ll catch our ferry for Al Arish. We are scheduled to have a briefing at 10:30am where we are hoping to be told which port we’ll be leaving from.
Today has been a bit of a chill out day whilst at the same time we were able to get ahead of the rest of the convoy and arrive in Tartus about 3 hours ago. Alhumdulilah we covered a decent amount of ground and had a bit of a day out. We decided to leave ahead of the rest of the convoy to gain as much ground as possible as one of the vehicles known as ‘the white snail’ needed repairing. Infact it was the same vehicle as yesterday that caused us to remain behind. The problem wasn’t solved and it was driving even slower than usual. There’s probably no need for me to explain the meaning behind the name for the vehicle.
As we were heading towards Tartus, which is not far from Crack de Chaveliers, a famous fortress that belonged to Richard the Lion heart, we thought we would pay it a visit as it was on our way. You can’t pass soo close to such a sight and not make a quick excursion, you’d probably deeply regret it. What an amazing fortress, it was this fortress that was deemed impregnable by the Muslims due to its strategic location and high walls. The design and architecture is amazing and it makes you think about how they built it and what exactly took place there. By the will of Allah the Muslims managed to take hold of the fortress after many years and we should praise Allah that he has sent individuals who have taken the initiative and taken on the responsibilty that most run away from. By the efforts of such people the ummah is eliviated from much suffering.
We’re now in Tartus, a small sea side town where we should be catching the ferry to Al Arish. We were actually sheduled to board today but for some reason the convoy remained behind in Damascus and should be (I stress ‘SHOULD BE’) coming down here tomorrow. The exact reason for them not coming I am not sure, maybe things aren’t as straight forward as expected. At the moment we are the only members from the convoy here and we checked into a budget hotel and within minutes we had the ‘men in black’ all over the scene.
For some reason they like to ask questions about things they already know, maybe it makes them feel important as it seems like not much happens here. Anyway, tomorrow will be an exciting day for them, the rest of the 150 vehicle’s will arrive. The amount of excitment they had over 8 vehicles, I am sure that tomorrow will be thoroughly enjoyable for them.
Wa Asalamu Alaykum wr wb